Monday, May 20, 2013

Vampires Don’t Sparkle! (editor Michael West): Interview: Tomorrow Comes Tour Stop

Today I'm excited to welcome Stephen Zimmer as a guest author.  Stephen wrote The Excavation, a short story that's included in this anthology. Let's begin.....

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your books?

My books and stories are an invitation to escape and adventure, a provoker of thought, a reflection of life, an encouragement to strive forward against adversity, and an embracing of freedom.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

The hardest part of writing my books is hitting that fine line where I’ve got them at a point where I need to just hand them off to the editor.  I feel most writers could do rewrites for infinity, as every pass you make through your work you’ll think of one tweak, word change, added phrase, or other element that you feel inclined to add.  I’ve gotten much better at understanding when it is time to hand the manuscript off, but I think recognizing this point is something that a great many authors find difficulty with.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

My normal approach is to write for a few hours in the early morning, and if I’m still feeling sharp mentally to get another couple hours in at night.  The morning sessions tend to be three or four hours, unless it is a nice, lengthy Saturday or Sunday where I am ahead of the curve on my business tasks and can extend for a good eight to ten hours (on those days, I only do the one session).   I love those long days when you can output 10,000+ words in one session! 

Writing in the morning works out great as my mind feels fresh and I don’t give a thought to anything other than the story I’m working on.  I’ve learned not to do a second session at night if I’m feeling tired or a big foggy from a long day, as what I generate in that mode ends up needing a big overhaul! haha 

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I’m an unapologetic, life-long lover of hard rock and heavy metal (at least since I started loving Kiss at the age of 7).  The energy, the fiercely independent spirit, and the passion flowing within it resonate so strongly with me.  To paraphrase Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, heavy music is the theme music of the underdog and those who persevere, and I relate to that very well.  My love of the heavier edged music is not confined to any subgenre, as I can enjoy everything from straight ahead hard rock like Airbourne or Kiss, to classic metal like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, or Dio, progressive hard rock like Rush and Dream Theater, to symphonic metal like Nightwish, to progressive metal like Symphony X, neo-classical shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, thrash like Slayer or Overkill and Testament, and so much more. 

I often find myself putting on certain kinds of heavy music when I’m getting into specific kinds of scenes, whether it is an epic-scale battle, flying across a spectacular landscape, or encountering a scary adversary.  In a sense, I have my own lists of bands that serve as personal soundtracks for the various kinds of scenes I write.

This kind of music is, at its core, very defiant of authoritarianism and tyranny, and highly embracing of individual freedom, which further bonds me with it.   

Tell us about your next release.

Next up are three new releases and one short story.  In regard to books, my next novel is the fourth Rising Dawn Saga novel.  I’ve worked very hard to make sure that this is the best one yet.  I think the pace is fantastic, and there are a lot of revelations, twists, and turns that readers of the series are going to really enjoy.  As with the other books in the series, it is also challenges readers to take a good look at what is happening around us today, and be careful about where we are heading.

There are two novella-sized releases imminent.  Both are single-author collections of short stories.  Chronicles of Ave, Volume One, features stand-alone short stories set in the world of Ave, which is the setting for my Fires in Eden series in epic fantasy.  These stories are character driven, and set in diverse parts of Ave.  For example, I have short stories in environments resembling medieval China, Ireland, Eastern Europe, Africa, and more, all with plenty of fantastical flare woven throughout!  These stories are a great way for readers to explore Ave further, gain more background on some things encountered in the Fires in Eden Series, and much more.

Hellscapes Volume 1 represents something different and darker in tone.  They are horror stories that I describe as Dante’s Inferno meets Paradise Lost meets Clive Barker.  Visceral, intense, and more graphic than my other works, they still retain thematic elements explored in my other novels and short stories.   The setting for all the stories is reflected in the title, Hellscapes! 

Finally, I have a short story coming up in Thunder On the Battlefield, a new anthology from editor James Tuck, who readers might recognize as the urban fantasy author of the Deacon Chalk novels.  This story introduces Rayden Valkyrie, a very tough and sharp-witted warrior that I think readers of sword and sorcery and fantasy will really enjoy.  I want to do many more stories, including novels and novellas with her, and I hope that readers enjoy meeting her in this first tale.

What are your favorite TV shows?

Lately, there have been many offerings on television that have kept my DVR busy! Haha  Of course, I loved Spartacus.  Not entirely historically accurate, but it captured the passion and spirit of a figure that I regard as one of my favorites in all human history.  Game of Thrones is amazing, and given that George R.R. Martin is my favorite living author (Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are my favs overall), it is wonderful to see such a fantastic adaptation of his work.   I also find the Borgias, Vikings, The Following, Shameless, The Mentalist and DaVinci’s Demons to be exceptionally written shows, with engaging characters and depth not commonly encountered in the usually mindless fare flooding most programming.   When it comes to sitcoms, Big Bang Theory tops my list, as it reminds me of many people I know and many moments I’ve experienced along the way, haha!  Rules of Engagement was another favorite sitcom, and it was very disappointing that it was cancelled. 

What are you passionate about these days?

Monster Energy Drinks!  Hahaha, just kidding, although they are my absolute favorite beverages in the world!  Seriously, I am very passionate about the issue of personal freedom and the direction the world is heading.  The advances in technology are enabling some highly worrisome trends that are anything but friendly to most of us.  Elites will always live by a different set of rules, and it is becoming increasingly apparent how big that gulf is becoming.  What astounds me most is how so many people allow themselves to have their views shaped by mass media, fabricated left-right political paradigms, fear-mongering, and so many more tools that steer them right along the controlling, regulated course that the elites in politics and business want for most of us.   Self-empowerment, self-determination, becoming informed, and a road to life, liberty, and happiness are what I’m all about, and it troubles me greatly how so few seek this path and are willing to concede civil liberties and a thriving future with barely a whimper.

Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?

I rock around the clock, hahaha!   Seriously, I am both a morning and night person.  I am alert in the morning and often work late into the night.  My greatest challenge is getting adequate sleep, as there’s always so much to do in a given day.  The hours are not noticeable when you enjoy what you are doing, and writing is something I enjoy immensely.   

How can people connect with you?

I love to hear from readers and invite them to connect with me via Facebook, Twitter, my website, blog, and Google+


Vampires Don’t Sparkle! (editor Michael West): 
What would you do if you had unlimited power and eternal life?

Would you…go back to high school? Attend the same classes year after year, going through the pomp and circumstance of one graduation after another, until you found the perfect date to take to prom? Would you…spend your days moping and brooding, finding your only joy in a game of baseball on a stormy day? Or would you…do something else? Anything else?

The authors of this collection have a few ideas; some fanciful, some humorous, and some as dark as an endless night. Join us, and discover what it truly means to be “vampyre.”

Edited by Michael West

Foreword by Michael West
“A New Life” by J. F. Gonzalez
“What Once was Flesh” by Tim Waggoner

“The Darkton Circus Mystery” by Elizabeth Massie
“Robot Vampire” by R. J. Sullivan
“Beneath a Templar Cross” by Gord Rollo
“The Weapon of Memory” by Kyle S. Johnson
“The Excavation” by Stephen Zimmer
“Skraeling” by Joel A. Sutherland
“Dreams of Winter” by Bob Freeman
“Dracula’s Winkee: Bloodsucker Blues” by Gregory L. Hall
“I Fuck Your Sunshine” by Lucy A. Snyder
“A Soldier’s Story” by Maurice Broaddus
“Rattenkönig ” by Douglas F. Warrick
“Vampire Nation” by Jerry Gordon
“Curtain Call” by Gary A. Braunbeck

Editor Bio
Michael West

Michael West is the critically-acclaimed author of The Wide Game, Cinema of Shadows, Spook House, Skull Full of Kisses, and the Legacy of the Gods series.

A member of the Horror Writers Association and Indiana Horror Writers, where he serves as President, West earned a degree in Telecommunications and Film Theory from Indiana University, and since that time, he has written a multitude of short stories, articles, and reviews for various on-line and print
publications. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their bird, Rodan, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

His children are convinced that spirits move through the woods near their home.

Social Media Links for Seventh Star Press


Vampires Don’t Sparkle! Tour Segment:
May 16 MikesFilmTalk       Guest Post
May 17 Come Selahway With Me    Guest Post
May 18  A Girl and Her Kindle   Review
May 20  Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews  Interview
May 21   Kentucky Geek Girl   Interview
May 22 Strange Amusements  Promo/Spotlight
May 23  Book Den  Guest Post
May 24  Beagle Book Space  Promo/Spotlight
May 26 Armand Rosamilla, Horror Author   Review
May 27  Bookishly Me    Review
May 30  The Cabin Goddess Review
May 31  WTF Are You Reading?   Review
June 3  Book in the Bag   Review
June 4  The Dan O’Brien Project  Guest Post
June 7  Bee’s Knees Reviews   Review
June 11 Darlene’s Book Nook  Guest Post
June 16  Jess Resides Here   Top Ten’s List
June 17  The Witchy Contessa   Review
June 19  My Seryniti   Review




sgzimmer said...

Thank you for having me for an interview today! Really appreciate it and enjoyed it! :)

Hannah said...

So jealous of writers who are able to get up crazy early and feel sharp enough to write a bunch! I need at least 2 or 3 hours before I'm sharp enough.

Please tell me you've used Holy Diver to set the scene at least ONCE! :D

Ooh will need to get a hold of Thunder on the Battlefield for sure! Interested in meeting this Rayden character.

Great interview. :)